This salad is one of my favorites to make when I am after something very healthy (it is oil free, yet filled with healthy fats) but still filling and hearty. The roasted chickpeas are so crunchy, salty and delicious you can’t stop munching on them once you’ve started. I often make them as a simple snack – an amazing alternative to popcorn! – but also to add both texture and flavor to salads. They go especially well with this one; fresh baby spinach leaves coated with a dressing creamy from blended cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and lemon juice. And a little avocado. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Cashew Creamy Spinach Salad With Roasted Chickpeas [Vegan]
- 1 normal sized can chickpeas
- ½ tbsp. sea salt, more to taste
- 1 cup cashew nuts
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 medium sized clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- Juice from ½ lemon (approximately ½ to ¾ tbsp - use a little to start and then add more to taste)
- ¾ cup non-dairy milk (a little more if you prefer a more liquid dressing consistency)
- ⅓ tsp salt
- 7 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
- Freshly grounded black pepper (optional)
- Soak the cashew nuts and the pumpkin seeds for a couple of hours (or do a quick soak in hot water for 30 minutes).
- Rinse the chickpeas and spread them out in a large oven tray (single layer). Sprinkle over the sea salt and place in the oven. Roast for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. They should be a little brown, and definitely crunchy. Don't be tempted to take them out too early, as they will only get that real crunchiness if they are in the oven long enough (but obviously look out so you don't burn them which happens pretty easily).
- While letting the chickpeas cool off a little, make the dressing. Remove the soaking water from the pumpkin seeds and cashew nuts and place them in a food processor. Add the garlic, the lemon juice, the salt and the non-dairy milk and blend until you have a completely creamy, smooth and pretty thick dressing (or use a hand blender).
- Place the spinach leaves in a salad bowl and add the dressing. Make sure all spinach is properly coated, normally easiest done by using your hands 'massaging' it all together. Then add the avocados, toss, and then top it off with the chick peas. Add a little freshly cracked pepper and some more sea salt if desired and serve immediately.